November 2022 Update

Since I’ve got my balsam wax burner on, and my cranberry soaps by the sink…it’s officially the holiday season!

I am so happy with my time in North Jersey so far. Working on the college campus that helped me create who I am is such a gift! I love working my student volunteers to help make milestones happen for the Drew Food Pantry. I also love watching the Changemaker students discover passions and new communities through their direct service!

I will be returning to South Jersey to see my family before I know it. I’m grateful for their support as well as the support of my friends.

I can’t believe it is already November, but I do hope that time can slow down, so that I don’t miss a minute of my life at Drew!

As flu season continues I am sending everyone wishes of care. Minding our public health practices is an act of social justice. Solidarity with marginalized communities means we have to take pandemic safety seriously. We’re all in this together <3

October 2022 Update

Hi everybody!

I’ve had a blast during the first couple of weeks with the Storyteller Studio! For real, it’s a dream come true to be a part of the New Jersey Play Lab family as a Program Coordinator. Check out this story Drew posted sharing about the STS Artistic Director Emily and I, since we are both proud Drew dramaturgy alums!

I’ve been catching up with recordings from the Art Reach Cultural Accessibility conference. The video about DPAAC that I made alongside last year’s co-facilitators and two of this year’s board members, Julia and Isabella, premiered in late September as the virtual conference took place. I’m so proud of all of DPAAC’s work this year as they welcome in new members and start a new era of the organization.

I am eager to continue supporting the Center for Civic Engagement as we head into the middle of the semester, and to continue updating everyone on these community engagement and artistic endeavors! Stay safe, well, and warm!

September 2022 Update

It’s finally Virgo season, everyone!

The beginning of the school year is underway. As Community Engagement Coordinator, I’ve been busy staffing, running training, and otherwise managing Drew’s Food Pantry. I am so grateful for the work of previous volunteers and managers, who laid a great foundation that I and my current volunteers can build from. One of the most special parts of being back at the Center for Civic Engagement is seeing the senior and junior students who were once my first-year and sophomore mentees, both official and unofficial, now becoming mentors for new Action Scholar students! I’m also loving every moment I get to see the new leaders and new/returning members of the Drew Performing Arts Access Coordinators reach milestones for the year — first club fair, first meeting, even the first meeting follow-up email (I definitely cried a little bit, being included on the mailing list still!)

I’ve also been spending time preparing for the next cohort of The Storyteller Studio (STS), NJ Play Lab’s cohort of young playwrights and dramaturgs. The STS members engage with peer and professional support in order to hone the skills and working habits that make successful artistic careers. I was a member of this cohort in 2021, and now I’m helping make the magic happen in my role as Studio Coordinator. Here’s to lots of collaboration and beautiful artistic a-ha’s.

Thank you to everyone for their support as I write this new chapter of my professional community engagement and creative life!

August 2022 Update

Happy Leo season, everyone! This is a time of huge transitions for me, and dreams coming true.

I’ve finished my summer season at Appel Farm Arts Camp. In the last leg of my experience, I really enjoyed making documents like accessibility checklists for events, and the task descriptions for any and all future Accessibility Consultants. I will never forget my time with the camper and my fellow staff, and all the laughs!

I moved to North Jersey! I am living in Madison again, where I’ll be the Community Engagement Coordinator at Drew University! These days have involved a lot of unpacking, setting up, and scouting out the best places to shop for essentials and groceries..and two visits to the library already 🙂

It feels so surreal to be back in the town and region that formed so much of who I am during my college career. I am grateful for every step that brought me to this great new adventure, and am excited to share it with everyone. Have a safe, cool August!

July 2022 Update

I have a short and sweet update to dispatch from Appel Farm Arts and Music Camp! I’ve been learning so much as an instructor, counselor, and accessibility consultant! My favorite part of my position is watching the unique creativity of each camper shine. Implementing accessibility measures such as some captioning and sensory friendly tools for performances is also a blast.

I hope everyone’s summer has been going well. Please stay safe throughout this continuing pandemic — transmission levels are soaring above what has been the case before. Wearing a mask, testing often, and social distancing is community care, respect, and justice.

This time next month I’ll be writing to you from my new home in North Jersey, and I’ll be able to share more about the jumpstart of my artistic and community engagement career!

June 2022 update

The summer solstice is upon us! I’m sending my best warm weather wishes to all.

Since graduating on May 14, I’ve been in a flurry of preparing for my position at Appel Farm. This time next month I’ll be posting an update from the campus, and I already know I will have great stories of making art with the incredible staff and youth campers.

I’ve also locked down a plan for my fall move to North Jersey: another part time position, that will logistically works beautifully with my residency at Luna Stage. I’ll be able to give official word on this new development next month…let’s just say I am returning to a place that has been in my dreams for a while now!

I’ve also created videos as an asynchronous digital presenter for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs Association 2022 Conference (one about digital dramaturgy, and one about DPAAC/sensory seminars) and another presentation with two dear pilot-year DPAAC co-facilitators (Isabella and Julia) for the Art-Reach Cultural Accessibility Conference. Getting the word out about DPAAC means we can support accessibility efforts across multiple institutions!

I’ve been enjoying having Zoom parties with friends to watch archival footage of Company renditions…I’m even writing this update listening to the 2021 West End revival soundtrack. May you have an equally theatre-filled season!

May 2022 Update / Plans After Graduation

I am writing/posting this on May 12…Graduation Eve Eve! My undergraduate commencement will mark the beginning of my degree in action. I am so blessed to share that I will be joining two new creative homes.

This summer, I will be working Accessibility and Advocacy Consultant at Appel Farms Arts Camp 2022. I am grateful for the chance to “go back to theatre camp” and support the growth of creative young people, collaborate with incredible co-counselors, and build foundations for new types of accessibility in this summer experience.

In the fall, this south Jersey girl is going North! There’s a part of my fall that is in the butterfly cocoon…and I am looking forward to sharing this with you all, once it’s become a butterfly! You can read more about how my time at Drew planted the seeds for these flowers in the hyperlinked article.

I owe all of this great news to the support of my family and friends. Thank you for cheering me on during my time as a Drew Ranger. To much more magic!

Alyssa holding a sign reading "Launching my Career at Appel Farm Arts Camp, Accessibility and Advocacy Consultant

April 2022 Update

Hi everyone! It’s truly spring! I felt so relieved to cross into the threshhold of April. I’ve been blessed with the chance to partake in so many theatre projects this past month. I feel as though my transition from university theatre life to professional theatre life is going as well as it can! And next month I’ll be able to more specifically lay out my plans for the summer and fall. But do know there’s a lot of arts access and dramaturgy in my future 🙂

Last week, I had the opportunity to virtually present my play in progress, Un Canto di Natale, as a part of the Dramatist’s Guild Footlight series. My team also showed half of the piece in person at Drew’s Day of Scholars. I am thankful for DG’s/the audience’s/our faculty’s support, the talent of my cast, and the hard work of my open captioners.

On Tuesday, I got to virtually chat with NJ high school students who have been honored with an NJ Governor’s Award. I presented on my arts accessibility work and how young folks can start building their skills to build a more equitable theatre community. These students are going to rock it in the theatre world! If you or anyone in your life want to learn more about arts access, please let me know. I have a wealth of resources to pass along!

Speaking of access, all of my Drew Performing Arts Access Coordinators dreams are coming true. Having audio described and captioned two productions this semester, and having assigned seven new incoming co-facilitators, my team is ready to embark on making multiple scripted shows accessible for each season of the next academic year. I look forward to being a proud and involved alumna!

This time, next month, when I update you all again…I will be graduating the next day! My story with Drew will never end, but just this chapter will. I am excited to create my graduation cap🙂

Chat with everyone soon! Thank you as always for your encouragement!

March 2022 update

Hi everyone, and happy almost spring and astrological new year!

Tomorrow is two months out from graduation. Before spring break, I had the chance to co-facilitate an applied theatre workshop with my classmates for the Drew community. My favorite part of this experience was welcoming in folks whose first time creating theatre was with us! That’s why I love applied theatre so much, it compels us to democratize our theatrical education and skill-building.

Last month, my DPAAC members created our university theatre and dance department’s first ever audio described show and sensory seminar. I am so thankful for their hard work and for the continuous guiding contributions of our DPAAC advisory board. Next month, we will be putting up Drew’s first ever captioned show.

The things I have coming up include my thesis defense in April, sharing more about arts access with high school students, and supporting New Jersey Play Lab’s residency program and PlayGym Classes as a dramaturgy intern! My mind explodes (in the best way) whenever I watch and learn my program mentors guide consultations and champion playwrights in all career stages.

Stay tuned for next month, where I can share more about my summer and fall plans for growing in theatre accessibility as well as dramaturgy and teaching artistry! It’s a dream come true to be working in my field upon graduation, and I have all of my family, friends, and educators to thank for helping me get here!

February 2022 Update

Hi everyone! Happy love month!

As of this writing, I am ninety days from Graduation. Another way to look at it: tomorrow marks the official 3 months till May 14th! I’ve been blessed to have a great final semester so far.

In my applied theatre course, I am training in Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, as my cohort prepares to create community-based theatre with Newark high school students after spring break. I am fascinated by Boal’s Image Theatre exercises that ask participants to use the power of stage images as metaphors for solutions to community problems.

My thesis in digital dramaturgy is on the way to being complete–I’ve submitted the first draft to my committee, and we’ll be meeting this week to see what edits need to be made! I feel as though this research has transformed me as a dramaturg and has really taught me what my discipline is all about, which is wide-spread context-sharing and community building.

I am so proud to watch my DPAAC members shine as they prepare to make university history and create Drew’s first ever in-person audio described and captioned shows. I’m so grateful for their hard work as well as the contributions of our advisory committee.

Looking forward to updating you in March with more about DPAAC, my thesis, and what’s next after graduation!